In very simple terms, a liqueur is an alcoholic drink which has been flavored using nuts, herbs, fruits, spices, cream, or flowers and then added with sugar when being bottled. Liqueur and cordial have sometimes been used interchangeably to depict the same thing. They both depict the liqueurs created by redistilling spirits together with scented flavorings, and are normally much sweetened. However, whereas cordials are prepared using juices or fruit pulps, liqueurs are generally flavored with herbs.
Liqueurs are very sweet and they normally do not stay for long, but just stay long enough to allow all the ingredients used in the production to mingle and mix evenly. The alcoholic beverages date back to the 13th century where they were originally used as herbal medicines. Italian monks prepared liqueurs in the form of Benedictine or Chartreuse to treat various ailments.
Today, liqueur is produced round the world and is always served in different ways. Liqueurs can be served with coffee, can be decanted over ice, can be combined with cream, can be served alone or can also be mixed with other mixers to make cocktails. Further, liqueurs are normally served together with, or after a desert. They are also commonly used in the kitchen for cooking.
There is a notable difference between spirits and liqueurs, although it is very difficult to tell apart considering the fact that most spirits today are flavored. However, the difference comes because liqueurs are made by infusing certain fruits, woods, or flowers in either alcohol or water, and later on adding sweeteners. Flavored spirits on the other hand are not made by infusion.
Note that the alcohol content of most liqueurs is always lower than that of spirits, although some liqueurs may have an alcohol content of over 55%. Typically, the alcohol content is usually between 15-30%. Liqueurs of different colors form very impressive layered drinks by floating them in separate coatings. Each colored liqueur is decanted slowly in a glass through a glass rod or the back of a spoon, so that the liqueurs of various densities will not mix, thus creating a beautiful stripy effect.
Most of the common liqueurs available today are classified according to their kind of flavoring. Popular liqueurs include:
1. Chocolate liqueurs such as Amarula African Chocolate Cream Liqueur, Afrikoko (mixture of coconut and chocolate), Creme de Cacao, Cadbury Cream Liqueur and Ashanti Gold.
2. Coffee liqueurs such as Bols Coffee Liqueur, Allen's Coffee Brandy, Aruba Arehucas, Vibe Robusta Coffee Liqueur, Caffe Borghetti, and Cafe Britt Coffee Liqueur.
3. Cream liqueurs such as Baileys Irish Cream, Creme de la Creme Maple Cream Liqueur, Carolans, Dooley's, Cruzan_Rum Cream and Drumgray Highland Cream Liqueur.
4. Creme liqueurs such as Creme de cacao, Creme de Banane, Creme de violette and Creme de menthe.
5. Fruit liqueurs such as Aurum (rum, tea, and tangerines), Amabilli (banana), Cherry Heering (cherry), and Cointreau (orange)
6. Berry liqueurs such as 99 Berries, Guavaberry (guavaberry), Lakka (cloudberry), Chambord (raspberry), Polar Cranberry, Whidbeys (loganberry), Creme de cassis (blackcurrant) and Sloe gin (sloe)
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